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Negotiations for Women Professionals

Perhaps not surprisingly, women are the weaker sex when it comes to negotiating. Why? More often than not, women are non-aggressive and even apologetic in business dealings! Well, listen up, ladies: it's a jungle out there! Whether accepting a job offer, closing a sale, or bargaining for vendor services, negotiations play into every aspect of your professional life. It's time to put away your feminine sensibilities and take control of your career!

  • Players at the Table: Find out everything you can about your opponent(s). Is he/she a gatekeeper or a decision maker? Male or female? Historically good at negotiating? This will help you mentally prepare. Remember: Men and women communicate differently. Source both male and female mentors for guidance on successful, gender-specific communication.
  • Goals & Bargaining Chips: Make a list of what you want and what you have to offer (what your opponent can gain from you). In a sales deal, consider products, support services, functionality, staff expertise, etc. When negotiating for a job, consider experience, work ethic, industry connections, billable hours, etc.
  • Also, take an educated shot at listing your opponent's goals and bargaining chips. Due diligence, again, will pay off here. Research the company through corporate profiles; learn about its services and people. When negotiating for a job, research vacation policies, bonus plans...anything you find enticing.
  • A Happy Place: Analyze your goals. Determine what the most ideal outcome will be for you. For instance, list five things you want. If you receive three of those five things, you'll feel like you've been successful in your negotiations. Also determine what bargaining chips you're willing to reveal early on in negotiations and which ones are last resorts.
  • Controlled Emotions: There is NO call for emotions during negotiations. Remaining calm and level-headed is the best way to ensure success. Remember that this is work for everyone. Personal stakes are a minor concern if any at all-even when negotiating for a job.
  • Don't get flustered. Buy time to think things through by recapping your opponent's statement: "Let me make sure I completely understood you..." Don't be confrontational. And, don't throw all of your bargaining chips out at once. Full-disclosure is typically not the best policy during negotiations. After all, you want to get the most out of the deal, not give the most.

Negotiations are always a compromise. Be prepared to give in a little and expect the same of your opponent. Money isn't always the bottom-line either, particularly when negotiating a new job offer or a raise. There are many other bargaining chips that an employer can offer you that may balance out an average salary. Consider extra time off, flex time, educational refunds...whatever will make you happy. You never know!

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